You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to eventually have a great following.
“So, how do I increase my Twitter followers?”
It’s funny how people who don’t even fully understand what I do each day would come to a conclusion that all that matters in today’s heavily connected world is to increase their Twitter followers.
I could go on and on about why the number of followers isn’t the most important; rather, it’s about authentic engagements in whichever platform you choose to be a part of. But I guess that’s for another discussion.
This post is my attempt at providing simple yet actionable tips that you can immediately start today to boost your Twitter followers.
1. Optimize your Twitter Bio
While it is going to sound cliché, Twitter is just like any other platform — the only way to be found is through your keywords! Be sure to optimize yours and include keywords that you want to be found and make it clear as to who you’d like to follow you.
Here’s a nice play at keywords by Kas Thomas (@kasthomas):
Humanist. @BigThink blogger. Opiner. Artificer. Followed by a president, a prime minister, and a certain musician’s artist-widow. And you, I hope.
Inspired by his Bio, I’ve changed mine to reflect not only with the keywords I want to be found but also a play at who I’d like to follow me.
Have a look at my Twitter bio (Erm. Wouldn't hurt if you’d follow me too ;)
2. Connect with these two types of Twitter users
There are several types of Twitter users — broadcasters, occasional users, connectors and amplifiers.
Not all of them will be most helpful in boosting your Twitter experience so I’d be highlighting the two types of users that you can connect with (list of specific accounts that you should be following and engaging with).
Connectors — When starting out, Twitter is pretty much like your college frat where you need power users who will connect you with other users in their existing network who might be interested in what you tweet about.
These are not just Twitter users who have large followings but those who actually engage with their followers and are happy connectors.
Below are some of the users who are pretty good at that and topics that they tweet about.
1. Sean Gardner (@2morrowknight) — tweets about social media tips and social good
With over 500,000 Twitter followers, he is always part of Twitter Influencers lists.
And the list goes on… it’s because he’s genuinely engaging with his followers, always looking to connect similar-minded individuals and constantly sharing (read: retweet) content that his followers will find most valuable.
2. Chelsea Krost (@chelseakrost) — tweets about millenials and branding
A quick look at Chelsea’s media appearances will make you immediately love Chelsea and her works. She’s a trusted voice when it comes to millennial branding and an over-all wonderful person, always responding to her followers and even introduced me to other inspiring millennial bloggers on the Thanksgiving eve! She’s always engaging, listening and looking to help build relationships with others.
3. Christel Quek (@ladyxtel) — tweets about social media for business
One of the Twitter Powerhouses, she constantly shares updates that are useful for businesses and always willing to connect individuals that are interested in the same topics. You’ll appreciate her fresh and interesting take on things so kickstart a great conversation on Twitter by following her.
Amplifiers — These are Twitter users who constantly share your content. Connect with them and be sure to thank them for being so wonderful!
1. NAMELESS™ (@iNFutures) — tweets everything awesome
2. Mehul V. Pithadia (@DeumIntra) — tweets inspirational quotes
3. Ben Francia (@BenFrancia) — tweets internet marketing tips
4. Michael Tan (@TanonStreet) — tweets social media and social good
3. Create a list of interest and importance
List posts have been proven to capture interests of readers, and people included in the list will most likely share that list because after all, we all want to be part of something bigger than we are.
Start by creating a board on Pinterest with a list of influencers that you’d like to connect with. Think of this as you master list of whom you’d like to engage with and whom you’d like as a follower.
Think of the influencers in your industry that you’d like to connect with and create a Pinterest Board — which you could then easily share on Twitter and @mention them!
Who are the most influential people in your topic or industry, and what are they tweeting about?
Go to their Twitter profiles, copy their names, topics that they‘re passionately tweeting about and make sure to include their @handle. It’s very important as you eventually notify them that they’re part of the list and click on the “Post to Twitter” option when posting on Pinterest.
In doing so, you are creating a visual list of people you want to connect with and at the same time, you’re notifying them that they’re part of the list (via cross-posting on Twitter).
I've discussed a bit more about the process on my post: 4 Steps to Increase Followers on Twitter and Pinterest and here’s an example of my Top Social Media Resources on Twitter and Top Community Managers in Asia (Sorry! As narcissistic as it may seem, someone requested that I include myself in this list. Arrrgh)
A little caveat though is that you have to ensure that the list is carefully handpicked and not just some list of people you’re currently friends with. Think of people beyond your existing network that are influential whom you’d like to engage with.
4. Search and be found
Unless you’re Justin Bieber or Taylor Swift, followers don’t just come naturally. You have to work for it!
Using Twitter’s search tool, find people of similar interest by searching specific keywords that are relevant to the industry that you’d like to be found (e.g. social media, engineering, cats)
Follow the first interesting person that comes up in the search results. The reason for doing this is that chances are Twitter will eventually recommend related users (again, see step 1 as to why)
Look at their Timeline and share their most interesting articles. Make sure you don’t share them all at once!
You’ll end up flooding and annoying your existing followers. Use a scheduling platform. I’ve found HootSuite Hootlet available on Chrome to be most helpful for this as I could easily RT the tweet from the @influencer then add my take.
Of course, retweets usually don’t really matter. Your opinion does!
Find influencers in your industry or topic you’d like to be found and share their most viral / retweetable articles. Be sure to add your take. And oh, don’t tweet them all at once. Use a scheduling tool like HootSuite. Include short commentary on the article, key takeaway, favorite part of the article or even a quick call to action.
Example structures below:
[Really loving this article by @author] Title of the Article (link) #hashtag
[Must read!] Title of the Article (link) #hashtag
You don’t have to constantly blog in order to have a voice in your industry. You can be an influential curator.
Start by spending at least 5-10 minutes per day, search for articles that are relevant to your industry, schedule to share it with your followers and make sure to include @mention the author of the post in the tweet and if the characters allow it, add your brief commentary.
So to summarize, here are the 4 actionable steps to get you started in increasing your Twitter followers:
1. Optimize your Twitter Bio keywords to be found (don’t overdo it!)
2. Connect with connectors and amplifiers (thank them!)
3. Create a list of interesting influencers (engage with them!)
4. Share insightful articles to connect (learn from them!)
Trying to build the number of Twitter followers take time but if you’re doing it right, engaging with the right people and offering value (not just on the receiving end!), you’ll gradually earn not just followers but actually the trust of the people in your industry.
Be authentic, and always provide value no matter which platform you may be in.
If you find this helpful — don’t be silly and greedy, share this on Twitter and be sure to tag me @jonharules. (See tip #4 on why ;)
Do you have specific strategies that have been helpful in increasing your Twitter followers that were not included in the article? Share them with us in the comments below!